Former chief secretary Anson Chan has said Hong Kong’s next leader should be able to unite civil servants, and she believes Finance Secretary John Tsang will be better at this job.

At a media meeting on Tuesday, Chan said candidates for the city’s top job should satisfy two criteria: personal integrity and whether he or she “stands by Hongkongers’ side.” Beijing’s approval is not the most important factor to consider, she added.

Anson Chan. File Photo: HKFP.

Chan also said that many praised Tsang as he would “at least talk like a human being.” She cited his support for the Hong Kong football team and calm attitude after being egged by a protester at a government forum in 2013.

Only New People’s Party lawmaker Regina Ip and former judge Woo Kwok-hing have announced their candidacy for Hong Kong’s leadership contest. Tsang is tipped to be joining the Chief Executive race once his resignation is approved by Beijing, but it has been more than a week since he announced his desire to step down from government.

She said that it is unusual that the current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said Tsang’s resignation would greatly affect the government’s work. Leung had praised Regina Ip for her work after she quit the Executive Council to run. Chan, however, questioned the relationship between Leung and Tsang: “What kind of teamwork does this show?” she asked.

John Tsang. Photo: John Tsang, via Facebook.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said she might consider joining the race in light of Leung’s announcement that he will not seek a second term.

Chan said she found it hard to accept Lam’s decision to reconsider running for Chief Executive, because if she wants to assume responsibility for Hong Kong and defend the “one country, two systems” principle, she could have indicated her will to participate in the elections before Leung’s announcement.

Regarding Chief Executive contender Ip, Chan said her credibility is in doubt, since she “lied about” her visit to the China Liaison Office a day after her legislative election in September.

The Chief Executive election is due to take place on March 26.

Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.